Salvation is one of the major concepts in the Bible but before we tackle this huge topic, let’s look at what it means generally. The Oxford Dictionary defines salvation as preservation or deliverance from harm, ruin, or loss. In other words, when you save something or someone, you rescue it from harm or decay.
When Christians talk about salvation, we refer to the process of being delivered from sin. Our faith in God rescues us from the penalty of sin which is death (Romans 6:23).
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What is Salvation According to the Bible?
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Since the origin of sin, God made it clear that the only way humanity could be saved was through the shedding of the blood of Someone who was perfect.
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15 NKJV).
The plan of salvation was set in place with these words and humanity had to recognize that they needed a Savior if they were going to escape with their lives. Since that moment in time, humanity began looking forward to the One who would save them.
The Importance of Salvation
In a world where we are taught to be independent and to be dependent on no one but ourselves, the idea of salvation is a difficult one. Why can’t we save ourselves? Why can’t we do something to reverse or negate the penalty for sin?
The truth is, as much power as we think we have, we are nothing without God (Acts 17:28). The things we think we’re busy resolving on our own are done using His resources. Our efforts to save ourselves are puny at best and pitiful at worst. You see, the problem of sin is that it robs us of holiness.
Now, before you start rolling your eyes at me, let me explain what I mean. In the beginning, humanity was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:16). As God’s image-bearers, we were expected to reflect the character and attributes of God. One of the traits intrinsic to God is His holiness. That’s why, when the Israelites were camped out in the wilderness learning what God expected of them, one of the things He said was,
“Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy” (Leviticus 19:2 NIV).
God’s holiness cannot be separated from who He is. But sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2). Let’s put it another way, if a sinful person were to go into the presence of our holy God they would be burned up. It is because of God’s grace that He puts a barrier between sinful humans and His holy Person.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23 ESV).
How is salvation obtained?
As we wrestle with this idea that we need a Savior, we need to figure out what we must do to be saved. According to the Bible, salvation is only available through the Person of Jesus Christ.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6 ESV).
The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble (Psalm 37:39 ESV).
The Steps to Salvation
In order to access the eternal life which is offered by God, there are a few things you have to do before you are able to claim the gift.
We access this saving grace when we believe in the Lord. Our faith is rewarded by the gift of salvation.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV).
As part of accepting Jesus as our Messiah—the one who saves us from sin—we must acknowledge that He is the only pathway to salvation and then we must repent of our sins.
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9 ESV).
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38 ESV).
The word translated as repent is the Greek word metanoéō, (pronounced met-an-o-eh’-o); and means to think differently afterward, i.e. reconsider (morally, feel compunction).
Repentance involves an acknowledgment that sin is bad and a decision to turn away from or to stop doing it. But even as we repent, we understand that it is the Holy Spirit who gives us the ability to walk faithfully with God. We are not able to live the Christian life in our own strength.
Is Salvation Free According to the Bible?
I have a unique viewpoint on this question. Is salvation free?
Yes and no.
When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour we are given the gift of eternal life. There is nothing anyone can do to be saved through their own merit. The only thing we have to do is say yes to Jesus.
But salvation is not free.
It’s a costly gift. Jesus had to give up His life so we could access the gift of salvation.
Why do we need salvation?
I’ve said it before but it bears repeating, the penalty for sin is death. Without Jesus, everyone on earth is a dead man walking. Do you want to be saved?
Salvation through Christ is the only way to be saved.
What must I do to be saved?
There was a man in Scripture who asked this question. We read his story in Acts 16:25-34, but it’s best to read the entire chapter for context.
Paul and Silas had been arrested for preaching in Philippi. They had gotten annoyed when a woman with an evil spirit kept following them proclaiming them to be servants of God. To shut her up, Paul ordered the demons to come out of her.
Since she made her masters a lot of money by prophesying, they were not amused that their money cow was dead. They made an outcry and Paul and Silas ended up in prison.
What was so interesting about this story was that around midnight, the two men were singing hymns and praying. There was a huge earthquake and the shackles fell off their feet. Now, these men and everyone in that prison could have walked away. But they didn’t. They chose to remain. I like to think Paul and Silas influenced the other prisoners to remain behind.
Paul and Silas knew they were not responsible for their own salvation. They trusted God to take care of them even in the difficult circumstances they found themselves in.
When the jailer saw that the prison door was open, his first thought was to fall on his sword. Now before you chastise him for wanting to commit suicide, try to understand what he would have faced.
As the jailer, he was responsible for the lives of every person in the prison. If they had escaped, he would have been executed. Herod Agrippa, who was emperor at that time, was as creative as he was murderous. No doubt, the poor jailer thought killing himself was the most merciful thing he could have done.
Imagine his surprise when he heard a voice calling out to him in the darkness. No wonder he wanted to know what he could do to be saved. At that moment, the jailer understood that there was a supernatural power at work. The advice that Paul and Silas gave was succinct and simple,
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31 ESV).
Like that jailer, we need to acknowledge our need for a Savior.
How do you ask Jesus for salvation?
While there are many versions of the “sinner’s prayer”, the best way to ask Jesus for salvation is to go before Him with a repentant heart. Acknowledge that you have sinned and that the only way you can be saved is through His death on the cross.
This reminder that we are saved through God’s grace came through to me as I read Nothing Short of Wondrous. One of the main characters, Will, wrestled with his desire to be redeemed in the eyes of his peers and God. He seemed to believe that there was something he could do to save himself—that his sins were so great not even God could forgive.
Nothing Short of Wondrous Review
When Will first encounters Kate, she has a rifle pointed at him and is directing him away from the mud pots of Yellowstone Park. The two quickly learn to depend on each other and eventually became friends.
The story in Nothing Short of Wondrous was somewhat disappointing. After reading the blurb, I was under the impression that Danny’s kidnapping was the major point of the story and expected it to feature prominently in the book. I actually thought it would have been the catalyst that brought Will and Kate closer together and catapulted their romance.
Instead, this event didn’t happen until chapter 27 (a mere three chapters from the end of the book) and was neatly wrapped up in a matter of moments. Much of the story slowly led up to that point and it wasn’t as exciting or hair-raising as I had expected it to be.
The Characters in Nothing Short of Wondrous
I liked Kate. She was a strong, independent woman who was doing the best she could for her child in a time when things were a lot more difficult for women than it is now. I empathized with her need to balance what needed to be done with things like relaxation and fun.
Will was a decent man. He had made some mistakes in his past and had done all he could to make penance for them. Although, I must admit that when the “secret sin” was finally revealed, it wasn’t as big or as horrendous as I had led to believe.
Will and Kate were good together. He was exactly what she needed–a strong man who could bear some of the weight she had to carry. She helped him to find a home and a family. She reminded him that he was not beyond redemption.
There were a number of minor characters in Nothing Short of Wondrous that were entertaining: Danny and Alberta come to mind. Danny seemed like the typical child who had more responsibilities than play and was easy to love. Alberta mothered everyone who came across her path and I have to admit I started wishing for a small bite of her famous pie by the end of the book.
The Themes in Nothing Short of Wondrous
Throughout the book, Will struggled with the idea that he had to do penance for his past. He had been judged by his fellow men and had started to believe that not even God could forgive him. The reader is reminded that there isn’t anything we can do to save ourselves. It is God who offers the gift of salvation and there’s nothing we can do to earn or deserve it.
There was also a faint theme that while our work is important, it’s necessary to take time to rest and worship. Kate had the most trouble with this. She always felt she needed to work continuously to keep up with the needs of the hotel and her guests.
Know God–in Nothing Short of Wondrous, we are reminded of the character of God. He gifts us with salvation not because we earn it, but because He loves us.
Know yourself–both of the main characters, but especially Will, had to learn to see themselves through the lens of the present instead of the past. Will had to acknowledge that while his past had an impact on the person he eventually became, he needed to embrace the person he had become instead of wallowing in what could have been.
Run your race–each of us is on a journey. It’s interesting to see what other people are doing as they travel their paths, but we should not get distracted. Kate had to realize that while she wanted to extend her hotel’s lease, there were some things she couldn’t do. She had to be prepared to continue to offer the service she and her team provided instead of trying to be all things to all people.
Nothing Short of Wondrous was set in a gorgeous setting and had a number of characters that were fun to read. While the pace and the setup were slower than I liked, it was interesting to experience the popular Yellowstone Park in its early days.I received an advanced reader’s copy from the publishers through the Revell Reads Blogger Program; a positive review was not required. Get your copy of Nothing Short of Wondrous.
About Nothing Short of Wondrous (American Wonders Collection Book #2)
It is 1886, and the government has given the US Cavalry control of Yellowstone. For widowed hotelier Kate Tremaine, the change is a welcome one. She knows every inch of her wilderness home like the back of her hand and wants to see it protected from poachers and vandals.
Refused a guide by Congress, Lieutenant William Prescott must enlist Kate’s aid to help him navigate the sprawling park and track down the troublemakers. But a secret from his past makes him wary of the tender feelings the capable and comely widow raises in him. As they work together to protect the park and stand firm through injustice and tragedy, they may just find that two wounded hearts can share one powerful love when God is in control.
About Regina Scott
Regina Scott started writing novels in the third grade. Thankfully for literature as we know it, she didn’t actually sell her first novel until she’d learned a bit more about writing. After numerous short stories and articles in magazines and trade journals, and a good kick in the backside from her husband, she got serious about writing.
Since then, she’s had published more than 40 clean historical romances for adults and young adults. Her traditional romances have earned praise from reviewers and readers alike. She is the author of more than two dozen sweet historical romances.
Regina Scott has learned to fence, driven four-in-hand, sailed on a tall ship, and dressed as a Regency dandy, all in the name of research, of course. She makes her home in the Puget Sound area of Washington State with her beloved husband. Find her online at her website www.reginascott.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authorreginascott, and on Goodreads at www.goodreads.com/reginascott.
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